Saturday, February 24, 2007


This is not a political blog by choice, for several reasons. But this post will border on the political.

I am not an expert on what has occured in Kosovo for the last ten years. I can only say what I know. But I feel that I have to say what it is I can say.

I do not defend Slobodan Milosevic or his troops. I do not deny that his regime was opressive or that he and his army committed acts which are not Christian and should never have occurred. But what happened in retaliation has affected people who were innocent. It has resulted in the destruction of thousand-year old monasteries, in murder of 81-year old women--and that is only a small portion of what has happened.

I can remember when the NATO bombing of Serbia took place. I was 11. I can remember the American sailors standing on their ship, far from any harm, and cheering as the bombs fell. I don't blame the sailors. They were fed the same biased information that almost everyone else in America was given. I remember how on Pascha (Easter), the holiest and most joyful day of all the year for any Orthodox Chrstian the Serbian government asked for a cease-fire. For this one day, the Day of all Days, the day of Christ's Resurrection. We refused. I can remember exactly how I felt when I heard this on the radio. I was 11 and I did not want to be American. I was Orthodox, and there was no room in my heart for those who could kill people who believed and worshipped as I did. I do not blame the American people except in that we did not take action. I blame our leaders and the media who sat in their pocket and presented such a limited view of an extremely complex situation that anyone who did not know otherwise would be forced to conclude exactly what most people did conclude.

Now it is eight years later. Hilary Clinton, the wife of the president at the time, is running for president. It is Lent. We are coming once again to Pascha, that day of joy. And the Albanian separatists who have been running a regime of fear, torture, and destruction, want independence.

For a much better informed and more complete view of what has happened in Kosovo since 1999 see It has specific pages for crimes and abuses, ruined churches, desecrated icons, the real story of the Albanian KLA, and much more, including text from interviews and speeches given by Bishop Artemije of Kosovo. Be aware that some of the images are extremely disturbing and are not appropriate for children.

Here is a petition asking the House of Representatives to decide against House Resolution 36 which would endorse the independence bid. (As a side note, here's one of the best reasons: "We do not support the United States position that Kosovo-Metohija, 15% of Serbia's territory should be taken away from her to appease Muslim insurgents who support Al-Qaeda and a thriving criminal element that imports illegal drugs and which also engages in human trafficking." If we're going to be against Al-Qaeda, let's do it consistently and rescue the Serbian people, who already suffered from Muslim rule for 500 years, from further oppression.)

Here is an article about Bishop Artemije, which includes this potent paragraph:

In the final years of the Milosevic regime Bishop Artemije was accused of "treason" and had no access to government-controlled media because of his opposition to violence and condemnation of any crime, regardless of the culprit’s ethnicity. This earned him no friends across Kosovo’s ethnic divide, however. After the KLA took over the province under NATO's occupation in June 1999 and started blowing up Serbian churches and monasteries by the dozen, his life was in danger.

Here is an address by Bishop Artemije on why Kosovo's independence would be a terrible idea for the West.

Bishop Artemije's response to the current proposal for independence.

Two speeches by Bishop Artemije. Here are a few quotes:
Kosovo was crucified, and five years later it still hangs upon the cross. The profound respect for the crucified victim forces everyone to remain silent in front of the cross. Even the Mother of God kept silent in front of her Son's Cross, but tears never ceased to speak.

It is by God's will that I am the spiritual leader of that people. That is why I find it difficult to speak of my own suffering and of the suffering of my people in cold, scientific, academic terms.

What is Kosovo for the Serbs and for Serbia? It is what Jerusalem is for the Jews. It is the heart of one's body, the hearth of one's home. Kosovo was, Kosovo is, the cradle of Serbian statehood, Serbian culture, Serbian spirituality. There lie our deepest national roots; there stand our most majestic Orthodox holy places

[Kosovo] is a symbol of spiritual values, of eternal Christian values which make life worth living and which are worth dying for.

Read the whole article--it is extremely moving.

Church of St. Basil of Ostrog at Ljubovo, Nov 2002

This post is not well organized. It is emotional and it is not rational. I don't apologize for any of that. These are my brothers and sisters in Christ. Kosovo is the place where Tsar Lazar of Serbia and his army sacrificed themselves as martyrs for the Lord. It is the heart of Serbian Orthodoxy, and to give it away would be as to give Jerusalem to Hamas. My heart bleeds for the Serbian people and yet we cannot become bitter or angry. We can only trust that the Lord is using this suffering to purify our faith. Glory be to Him in all things!

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